02 March 2007

Appleton: glossary of terms

Glossary of terms from Jay Appleton's The Experience of Landscape[1].

This is reproduced for the benefit of my students, since the book is out of print (and second hand copies are selling at upwards of £85). I strongly recommend referring to the book itself, if you can get hold of a copy ( perhaps through your library) and this reproduction is only a second best alternative

Glossary of Terms
(To which some particular shade of meaning is attached beyond that normally understood from general usage)
Accessibility See Penetrability
Animate hazard An incident hazard in which the threat is posed by some animate agent
Aquatic (i) Of hazards; an inanimate incident (or impediment) hazard in which the threat is posed by water, (ii) Of surfaces or horizons; a surface or horizon of water, characteristically prospect-dominant
Arboreal (i) Of refuges; a term used to distinguish refuges on the basis of their substance or fabric, (ii) Of surfaces or horizons; a term used to denote cover by vegetation tall enough to afford refuge 'Arboreal' generally implies refuge-orientation, but the tops of trees, particularly those of upright habit of growth, can act as prospect symbols.
Architectural A term used of surfaces or horizons composed of artificial structures Architectural surfaces and horizons may be further distinguished on the basis of components (eg walls, roofs, etc) or materials (eg stone, timber, etc)
Balance The proportion in which different kinds of symbolism are combined in a landscape
Canopy An opaque covering above a horizontal vista, qv
Carpeted An 'open' surface or horizon covered by vegetation (eg grass, heather, etc) low enough not to impede visibility under normal conditions
Closed A term used of prospects in which a view is limited in distance by some intervening screen. A view of short 'fetch', qv
Cloud canopy A canopy, formed by cloud, covering a sky dado, qv
Contraposition (Adj. Contrapositive) The juxtaposition of symbols of contrasting type; the opposite of reduplication
Coulisse Originally a theatrical term denoting scenery which projects from the wings on to the stage; applied in art criticism to any lateral projection from the flanks of a landscape, hence a particular form of interface between voids and masses. Highly significant as a zone of contact between prospect and refuge.
Deficiency hazard A threat to comfort or survival resulting from some chronic deficiency (eg food) rather than from some incident
Deflected vista A form of secondary vista in which a deflection of the vistal axis terminates a direct prospect but suggests a continuation of the line of vision in the same general direction
Direct prospect A view as directly observed
Dominance (Adj. Dominant) The prevailing influence of a particular kind of symbolism in a landscape, (eg 'prospect dominance', 'refuge dominant', etc)
Exposure A condition of refuge-deficiency in which the dominant symbolism is that of prospect and hazard combined
Falling ground A surface sloping downwards away from a vantage-point; a common prospect symbol
False sky dado A phenomenon similar to a sky dado (qv) in which, however, the bright layer near the horizon is caused by the diffusion of light by particles in the atmosphere impeding rather than facilitating the passage of light
Fetch The distance over which visibility can be achieved in a particular direction
Fire hazard One of the categories of inanimate incident hazard
Habitat theory The theory that aesthetic satisfaction experienced in the contemplation of landscape stems from the spontaneous perception of landscape features which, in their shapes, colours, spatial arrangements and other visible attributes, act as sign-stimuli indicative of environmental conditions favourable for survival, whether they are really favourable or not
Hazard An incident or condition prejudicial to the attainment of comfort, safety or survival
Hide A form of refuge which provides concealment from animate hazards. Cf. Shelter
Horizon A line, not necessarily horizontal, marking the limits within which an object or surface impedes visibility. A horizon is always conspicuous as a secondary vantage-point (qv); it differs from other secondary vantage-points in that its identity depends on its being observed from a particular primary vantage-point
Horizontal vista A view restricted by conspicuous bounding margins in a horizontal plane
Human hazard An animate hazard in which the threat is posed by a human agent
Impediment hazard An obstacle or condition which impedes the threatened party in securing an environmental advantage by restricting his freedom of movement (e.g. a wall, fence or river)
Inanimate hazard An incident hazard in which the threat is posed by some inanimate instrument or by the onset of some condition not determined by any animate agent (e.g. a storm or earthquake)
Incident hazard A hazard which seems to be occasioned by some incident rather than by some condition
Indirect prospect The imagined view from a secondary vantage-point, qv.
Instability hazard An inanimate incident hazard resulting from instability (eg a landslide)
Interface (Prospect-Refuge Interface) The zone of contact between those parts of the environment which are visible from a vantage-point and those which are not, or between prospect-dominant and refuge-dominant areas. See Coulisse
Interrupted panorama A panorama broken by obstacles insufficient to destroy the impression of a single landscape. Cf Multiple vista.
Inversion The association of one kind of symbolism with an object or situation normally associated with another; eg in nocturnal landscapes, when the usual symbolism of prospect in the sky (light) is replaced by that of refuge (darkness)
Involvement Participation in any activity or experience which implies a functional, strategic or perceptual relationship between an observer and his environment
Lateral vista See Offset Locomotion hazardAn incident hazard resulting from movement by the threatened party, eg a fall
Magnet (Adj. Magnetic) A part of the landscape which attracts the eye of the observer. The adjective 'magnetic' can be applied to a point, line, area, etc.
Meterological hazard An inanimate incident hazard in which the threat is posed by some meterological phenomenon (eg wind, rain, snow, etc)
Multiple vista A view resulting from two or more breaches in an opaque screen, where the efficacy of the screen is sufficient to destroy the impression of a continuous panorama Cf Interrupted panorama
Naked A term applied to an open surface or horizon uncovered by vegetation (eg consisting of rock, sand, asphalt, etc)
Nebulous (i) Of apparent surfaces or horizons consisting of dust or water particles suspended in the atmosphere (eg fog, smoke, cloud, etc); (ii) Of refuges formed by such substances
Non-human hazard An animate hazard in which the threat is posed by an animalother than a human_
Offset (lateral vista) An indirect prospect which results from an apparent breach in the confining flanks of a vista, suggesting the opportunity to achieve a prospect approximately at right angles to the vistal channel
Open A term used of surfaces or horizons relatively free from impediments to vision and therefore prospect-dominant See 'Naked' and 'Carpeted'
Panorama A view in which breadth is a dominant characteristic
Peephole A view restricted in both horizontal and vertical planes, as in a window, rock arch, etc
Penetrability (Accessibility) The property of the margin of a refuge which appears to offer easy access (eg by an opening, staircase, shaded edge, etc)
Primary vantage-point A place from which a direct prospect is observed
Prospect (i) A view, (ii) An environmental condition, situation, object or arrangement conducive to the attainment of a view.
Prospect-refuge theory The theory that the ability to see without being seen is conducive to the exploitation of environmental conditions favourable to biological survival and is therefore a source of pleasure
Reduplication The use of two or more symbols of similar kind to reinforce each other (eg a cottage in a wood, both being refuge symbols)
Refuge An environmental condition, situation, object or arrangement conducive to hiding or sheltering. See 'Hide' and 'Shelter'
Secondary panorama, vista An indirect prospect (qv) of panoramic or vistal form
Secondary vantage-point A place or object, usually elevated, which suggests a further extension of an observer's field of vision See 'Indirect prospect'
Shelter A form of refuge which provides protection against inanimate hazards Cf 'Hide'
Sky dado A horizontal vista formed by a layer of bright, clear sky between a horizon and a cloud canopy, qv
Terrestrial A term used of surfaces or horizons consisting of solid as opposed to fluid substances Cf 'carpeted' or 'arboreal' with 'aquatic' or 'nebulous' surfaces or horizons
Texture A property of a surface deriving from the material of which it is composed, chiefly apprehended by the manner in which it reflects light (eg 'naked', 'arboreal', 'aquatic', etc)
Token symbols Symbols introduced in a miniature or inconspicuous form to complement a dominant symbolism of a different kind
Value The capacity of an environmental situation, condition, object or arrangement to communicate a suggestion of prospect ('prospect value'), refuge ('refuge value') or hazard ('hazard value')
Vista (Adj Vistal) A view restricted by conspicuous bounding margins, generally vertical or near-vertical; but cf Horizontal vista, Sky dado

1. Appleton, J., The Experience of Landscape. 1986, Hull: Hull University Press.

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